Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lost Watch: In The Future, When All's Not Well

Episode Title: Eggtown
Air Date: 2/21/2008

So another week, another last minute blog post about "Lost" before the new episode airs. You should have seen what it was like when I wrote essays in college. I started one fifteen page term paper the night before it was due. And got like a B+ or an A- on it. ANYWAY. On to last week's Kate-centric episode.

On the Island, We Learned
-Kate needs some info from the Asian Ghostbuster guy.
-Locke has become batshit crazy.
-Benjamin is still fucking with his head all over the place.
-Asian Ghostbuster guy wants to talk to Ben
-Kate springs Ghostbuster and takes him to Benjamin
-Ghostbuster asks for $3.2 million to lie and tell his employers Benjamin is dead
-Benjamin says yes and tells him he can get the money ( Benjamin is even more than just a guy whose lived on the island forever, as was made clear by the amazing Sayid episode.)
-Bat shit crazy Locke kicks Kate out of their weird little suburban island community because he's losing control of his minions

And in the future, we learn:
-Kate is on trial for the crime she committed before they landed on the island.
-Her mother decides she won't take the stand against her daughter...and asks to see her "grandson."
-Jack testifies on Kate's behalf, telling a cooked up tale of eight survivors of the Oceanic crash- leading one to speculate that two of the "survivors" died before Jack and co. became the Oceanic 6, and one of the dead is probably Claire
-Because Kate's "son" is none other than Claire's baby, little Aaron.


And, oh yeah, the helicopter with Sayid and Desmond on it heading for the freighter?

We're already halfway through the initial eight episodes of this shortened by the Writer's Strike "Lost" season. Thank god the producers have promised five more episodes after the initial eight, with a four week break between episodes. But seriously, thanks a lot writers. Was your residual fight really as important as a full season of "Lost?"

(Yes, it was.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lost Watch: This Shit Just Got Real

Episode Title: The Economist
Air Date: 2/14/2008

A fairly accurate dramatic recreation of my reaction to last week's amazing, Sayid-centric episode:

So we learned that, in the future:
-Sayid is a member of the "Oceanic 6."
-And he's an assassin
-Who kills people trying to fuck with the other survivors
-And he works for Ben.
Holy shit.

Meanwhile, in "the present," after trading the annoying Asian ghostbuster guy for the hottie Australian chick from "Death Proof," Sayid is about to get off the island on a helicopter.
Yeah, off the island. Which I'm sure we won't see this week.
You brilliant fuckers.

"Lost" is real good these days.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Overanalyzing Indy

Anyone who knows me (y'know, the real me, not the digital avatar version of me,) knows that I am kind of a fan of the Indiana Jones movies. In high school, I spent almost all of my free time during my junior and senior year working on a fairly ambitious Indiana Jones flick with my friend, spending the time my peers were using to get drunk, high, and laid making a nearly feature length homage to Spielberg's adventure trilogy. My friend crafted nazi armbands for the villainous extras, we researched the history of our mythic object Indy was hunting (Excalibur in our movie,) we drove out to remote locations for unimportant shots, we blew up a model of the nazi base, and we talked dozens of our friends into donating their time to dressing up as nazis and getting killed off quickly.
So yeah, I'm kind of a fan.
The trailer for the long awaited fourth installment of the franchise, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" premiered last week, so I was obviously excited.
If you haven't seen it yet, check out the trailer right here, embedded for your viewing pleasure:

So how do I feel about the teaser after viewing it dozens of times in the last week?
Strangely unmoved, to be totally honest.
The trailer is just cut in a really odd way, and the pacing of the whole thing is off. This doesn't mean the movie looks bad- I just feel like the teaser didn't really convey much of anything about what we've got in store for us on May 22. That said, here are a few observations.
-The buildup in the beginning is fucking stupid. Indy movies are fun, light on their feet, cartoony adventures modeled after old school serials. The first half of the trailer implies the movies are some sort of "Lord of the Rings" epic style trilogy, which is exactly where the "Pirates" sequels went wrong... which makes me nervous.
-Ray Winstone looks sweet as Indy's sidekick. But Ray Winstone is pretty much always sweet.
-From this trailer, it looks like David Koepp (writer of "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,") watched the original trilogy and said "oh, he uses that whip a lot," and somehow that was the biggest thing he got out of Indy. I hope they don't overuse the whip- it is part of what makes Indy Indy... but let's not carried away, people.
-Cate Blanchett looks totally ridiculous as a Nazi, I mean commie commander... which is not necessarily a bad thing.
-I love the moment when Indy tries to swing into a car, crashes into another truck and says "damn, I thought that was closer." Then he looks at the two goons for a beat before we cut to the outside of the truck as the goons are tossed out. That's the kind of moment that the original trilogy is filled with, and that moment, more than anything, gives me hope for the movie. But it also leads me to the moment I hated most in the trailer.
-Indy whipping up into the ceiling and pulling himself out of the speeding truck before it crashes into other speeding cars, which causes an awful looking CG explosion. The whip up move is a little too Batman for me, and I mean Schumacher Batman. And CG explosions are just not very Indy to me. Let alone CG Indy himself. These movies are all about insane stunts, done by Harrison Ford or his stuntmen. Now that Indy can do anything because of computers doesn't mean the character should be able to do anything- watch out for the "Die Hard" effect, as they try and turn Indy into a superhero.
-Shia, the jury is still out on you in this one. He doesn't look like he's gonna be Shortround or Jar Jar Binks... but will he serve a purpose other than to get teeny boppers in their seats (and he will. Despite his nebbishy looks, I heard a seventeen year old girl this weekend describe Mr. LeBouf as "gorgeous." Ooooooookay.) Shia is the luckiest fucker in the world after landing the Indy gig, and Spielberg has faith in the kid. I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt, especially since he was the least sucky part of Michael Bay's "Transformers."
-There are stereotypical "native" types chasing Indy and co. in the trailer. I'm glad Spielberg and his team didn't get all PC just because they've won some Oscars and made movies about "tolerance" and things like that. I'm being serious here though- it's the style of those old serials, and anyone who gets offended by that type of thing needs to lighten up.
-I don't know what that collapsing temple thing is, but it looks potentially cool.
-Ford looks like he can still bring it, which is the most important thing to take from the trailer.

So, a mixed bag, but I will obviously be there for the midnight shows, ready to give you my reaction to the actual movie, fair readers. I still think the title sucks, and worry about the thing that could really bring the whole movie down- the rogue Lucas factor. George Lucas already ruined "Star Wars" for us with his awful prequel trilogy, let's just hope he doesn't ruin "Indiana Jones." Because even though the trailer looks like it was cut by a retarded, over caffeinated monkey, I still hope the movie kicks ass and can't wait to find out if it does.
Until then:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lost Watch: The New Hotness

Episode Title: Confirmed Dead
Air Date: 2/7/2008

I hate to short change my Lost post, but it is Thursday as I write this, and the next episode is on tonight...and there is also an Indiana Jones trailer to discuss. Being a geek is fucking exhausting.

Episode 2 of this shortened season was completely kick ass. We got quick intros to our four new islanders, all of whom seem interesting, complex, and not the bad guys out to kill everyone Ben claimed they were. But they might be working for bad guys out to kill everyone.

And why was Ben so intent on keeping them off the island?

Because the fuckers came there for him.

Oh shit.

Ben's storyline is getting more and more intriguing with every episode of "Lost." His baiting of Sawyer was so great because you knew Sawyer realized he was being manipulated into beating him up even as he did it. Brilliant shit.

Meanwhile, John Locke is trying to act like a leader...and quickly learning Jack's job is not so easy. As Jack said towards the end of season one, (I'm paraphrasing because I'm far too lazy right now to actually look it up,) "I think we've got a John Locke problem."

Mr. Ghostbuster, with his weird dust buster paranormal communication machine thing, is about to blow the roof off the house with the whole Jacob thing too.

And tonight's episode is supposed to be a Sayid story. Fuck yes.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Lost Watch: Welcome Back, Hurley

Episode Title: The Beginning of the End
Air Date: 1/31/2008

And, we're back.

After a long hiatus, "Lost" kicked off season four, to big ratings during a time when America is so desperate for new, non-reality based content that they even stuck around after the episode aired to watch the absurd looking "Eli Stone."

The new "Lost" wasn't a mindblower, at this not the way that previous season premieres have been. Obviously, we didn't get anything as spectacular as our first look at the inside of the Hatch in season two or the revelation of the creepy Other-town in season three. But what fans were treated to last night was a lot of setup for what promises to be a wild ride in season 4.

Surprisingly, last night was a Hurley episode, and right away, in the new flash forward structure, we realize that he was one of the people taken off the island, along with only five others (The Oceanic 6.) So far we know half of the people who made it off-island- Jack, Kate, and now Hurley. The flash forward began dramatically, with Hurley in a high speed car chase on the LA freeways (as common a sight to Los Angelenos as rain in Seattle.) But it turns out that Hurley was being chased by the cops- because he ran out of a convenience store after being spooked by something. He didn't rob the place at gun point, he just ran off. I mean, even if Hurley run out with some HoHos and Twinkies without paying for them, would there really be a high speed chase with multiple cop cars pursuing him?

So Hurley gets himself committed, where he is visited by a creepy bald black dude who asks him if "they're still alive." As Jack made clear in the season finale, the Oceanic 6 have made some sort of hush hush deal in which they've promised to keep quiet about whatever happened to them on the island. Hurley's second visitor is more disturbing...none other than poor dead Charlie. The Drive Shaft singer tells Hurley that, yes, he's dead...but that he is there, right in front of Hurley. Charlie tells his old friend that "they need him," presumably referring to the other crash survivors he left behind on the island. When a pre-bearded Jack visits Hurley, he tells him that "it" wants us to come back. It, probably, being the island itself, which has turned out to be one of the most demanding land masses in the history of narrative fiction.

Back on island, in "the present" part of the story, Hurley has to deal with Charlie's death- and begins to think that his friend's warning that the people coming are not Penny's people means that Locke might be right, and they could be hostile. On his way back to the rest of the survivors, he runs into Locke himself...but not before he sees Jacob's creepy shack. Yes, Hurley can see the shack- and a person inside it, in the scariest moment of the season premiere. When he turns away from the little shanty, it's in front of him again. So Hurley's in tune with whatever crazy wave length allows Locke and Benjamin to see Jacob.

When the survivors finally reunite, Hurley has seen Locke's point of view, and decides that staying on the island might be the best option- because that's what Charlie died trying to tell them. The islanders split into two teams, with Captain Jack and Captain Locke being the leaders. Hurley, Claire and baby, the tied up Ben, and, shockingly, Sawyer, join team "stay on the island," while Kate and Sayid stay with Jack. The funniest moment of the episode was when Bernard, who promised to stay on the island with his ailing wife, asks Rose if she wants to go with Locke and she responds "I'm not going anywhere with that man." Probably a good call. He did put a knife in the back of the new arrival before they got a beat on whether she's a good guy or not.

One more note on the flash forward stuff- Hurley tells Jack "I should never have joined up with Locke," so he clearly regrets his decision...though we don't know what exactly went wrong with it. A weirdly upbeat Jack tells Hurley "it's water under the bridge, man," as if joining Team Locke was just a social faux pas, so who knows?

The episode ends with Naomi's friends parachuting onto the island, starting with Jeremy Davies, 90's indie film actor who starred in "Spanking the Monkey" and "Saving Private Ryan," and has always specialized on awkward bordering on creepy characters. When he takes off his helmet, he tells Jack "we're here to rescue you." Time will tell if he's lying.

So, on to theories.

Hurley can see Jacob and his house because of his "insanity" that landed him in the loony bin in the first place (which is where he was in flash backs and the new flash forward.) He either really is insane, or really can see dead people (which is why Charlie comes to him in the flash forward,) an ability he shares with Ben and Locke.

Hurley's igloo drawing at the loony bin has something to do with the arctic hatch from the end of season 2.

The creepy bald black guy is working for an organization looking for the island, and it's going to become very clear how important the island itself is to a lot of different people very soon.

Davies' character works for such an organization. They're not really there to rescue Jack or anyone. (This one is easy to guess, seeing as there are already promos for this season that give that away.)

Letting Ben go with Locke is a really bad idea. Like, really bad.

Jack will look weird with a beard, like Hurley said, but only because it will look fake as all hell. (I guess this isn't a theory, more of a statement on the beard from last season's finale- which, in my mind, is really the only thing I can criticize about that amazing episode.)

This season is going to kick a lot of ass once it gets going, and blow a lot of minds.